Gin wasn’t invented in London (in fact, as we’ll discover a little later, the Dutch can take credit for developing an early form of gin known as ‘Genever’ as a herbal remedy during the late middle ages), but few would deny it found a ‘spiritual home’ (pun intended!) there during the infamous ‘Gin Craze’ of the seventeenth century.
Looking to find a use for cheap grain not good enough for brewing beer, and aware of the stiff duties which were being imposed on imported foreign liquor, entrepreneurial cockneys set up small distilleries across the capital. Before long there was a thriving Gin Palace on nearly every corner, attracting crowds of revellers on a nightly basis until the Gin Act of 1751 finally put paid these unseemly excesses and brought the gin industry under the control of local magistrates.
Today the legacy of this proud history can be found all over London, not least at the Beefeater Distillery, which is located just a short walk over the bridge from Westminster Abbey and few stops on the tube away from the Tower of London, where tourists flock to marvel at the ceremonial guardsmen in their distinctive tall fur hats who bequeathed the distillery its name. Gin enthusiasts are welcome to visit for an hour-long distillery tour most weekdays, and best of all a refreshing Gin and Tonic is included in the £12 entrance fee.
If you fancy yourself as a true gin connoisseur and wouldn’t mind trying your hand at creating your own blend, for just £100 the team at The Ginstitute offer marathon three-hour tasting and blending sessions. You can expect to learn a little more about the history of gin, sample cocktails, and finally totter away with two delicious bottles of the stuff – one blended by your own fair hands!
It’s a little known fact that over 70% of the gin enjoyed by Brits is distilled in Scotland. In fact the tradition of Scottish gin production runs very deeply indeed, due in no small part to the juniper bushes which are common across the Highlands. Juniper berries are – of course – an essential ingredient of gin, and the Scottish variety is known for its distinctive rich and mellow flavour.
Iconic gin company Hendrick’s have been capitalising on this bountiful resource since 1886, however in more recent years a healthy crop of Scotland-based artisan gin producers has emerged, including Dunnet Bay Distillers, CrossBill Highland Distilling, and The Botanist. You can sample all of their wares and more at tastings hosted in bars across Edinburgh and Glasgow, for instance at Gin71, Glasgow’s first dedicated gin bar.
If you want to take in as many of Scotland’s gin-based delights as possible, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association has helpfully mapped out the Scottish Gin Trail. Stretching from Edinburgh all the way up to Caithness, the trail takes in all of Scotland’s best gin distilleries and bars. Only got time for a flying visit? Specialist tour company Gin Journey organise regular events in Edinburgh, during which you can enjoy chauffeur-driven transport between the cities premier gin-themed hot-spots.
When it comes to drinks, you would be forgiven for associating sunny Spain more with sangria and cold beer than delicious, Juniper-infused spirits. So it may come as a surprise to learn that Spaniards actually drink more gin than any other nation in Europe.
In fact, Spain is the second largest gin market in the world, principally due to the phenomenal popularity of ‘Gin-Tonic’, the Spanish take on the familiar Gin and Tonic which is served in a balloon glass with plenty of ice and garnish. So a trip to Spain is a great choice if you’re trying to decide where to travel to if you love gin.
You can enjoy gin in any Spanish city, but if you have to choose one head for Barcelona, where you’ll find a vibrant gin bar scene to rival any in the world, including the Old Fashioned Gin Tonic & Cocktail Bar, Bobby Gin, and Xixbar to name but a few. Head just out of the city to the fishing village of Vilanova and you can pay a visit to the Gin Mare distillery, where the Ribot family has been producing Spain’s most famous home-grown gin since the 1940s.
Finally, to make sure your knowledge of all things gin is truly complete, head to Amsterdam where you can experience the delights of ‘Genever’, the more complex juniper-based spirit forerunner of gin which the Dutch have been enjoying (for strictly medicinal purposes of course!) since the middle ages.
An altogether maltier proposition than modern Gin, Genever often has a light, honey-like colour. While the taste of Juniper still dominates, Genever also boasts smooth, creamy flavours. It is equally enjoyable straight, with a mixer, or when used to add a new dimension to classic cocktails.
Want to find out more? Head to Amsterdam’s House of Bols Cocktail and Genever Experience where you can discover how a great cocktail is made, and immerse yourself in the history and heritage of this exquisite spirit. Tickets are priced at just €16, which includes a cocktail.
Appetite whetted, you’re probably going to want to sample even more varieties of Dutch gin. So pay a visit to the De Drie Fleschjes tasting room where they’ve been welcoming enthusiastic Genever drinkers since 1650! If you’re lucky, the friendly and knowledgeable bar staff might even to let you in on a few gin-soaked secrets, and mix you a cocktail you simply won’t find anywhere else.
An average Filipino consumes 1.4 liters of gin every year, largely due to the effective marketing and distribution of Ginebra San Miguel – CRAZY !
Article by SkyParkSecure